The war of the pressure cooker
My mother-in-law thinks I should own a pressure cooker. With memories of seeing my dinner splattered all over the kitchen ceiling (nice one, mum) when I was growing up, I don’t agree.
I don’t need it. I’ll never use it, and I haven’t got cupboard space for it.
The war of the pressure cooker started nearly eight years ago, when DD was born.
“To make the baby food, you need a pressure cooker,” said MIL. “It’s much quicker.”
I didn’t like to admit that, with a full-time job, a new baby and no house-help, I was buying in the baby food, not “making” it. DD, weaned on Organix, practically vomited if she saw as much as a natural puréed carrot.
Still, MIL dragged me off to Géant and showed me the pressure cookers. She meant well. I said no. She put one in the trolley. I took it out. She put it back in. I took it out at the till and, ding-ding, round one to Mrs Dubai.
I may have won a battle, but the war continued over the years. Knowing she’d never again get me into the saucepan aisle of Géant, MIL started bringing a brand-new pressure cooker to our house in her luggage every time she visited.
“It’s for you,” she’s say. “I’ll leave it here for you.”
“Thank you so much,” I’d respond, “but no. I’ll never use it. Why don’t you give it to one of my SILs?” And I’d make sure it was packed in her bags, onwards to wherever she was next flying.
Five years later we were able to joke about it; if FIL wanted to stir things up, he’d ask with the innocence of a child, “Have you got a pressure cooker yet?” then run for cover. But now, with DD seven and DS three, I thought I’d won the war.
Until this visit just gone.
MIL unpacked her myriad bags and then, there it was, on the counter: Yet another brand-new shiny pressure cooker.
“It’s for you,” she said. “You can use it to make dhal.”
“I don’t need it to make dhal,” I said. “I don’t mind boiling the lentils.”
“But it takes just 10 minutes in the pressure cooker,” she said.
“It only takes 15 minutes in the saucepan,” I countered.
“Seven minutes in the pressure cooker,” she said.
“Thirteen in the saucepan,” I haggled.
And then I thought: This is ridiculous. We’ve been arguing over this damn pressure cooker for the past eight years. She clearly thinks it’s great. I’m never going to use it, but is it worth the hassle?
“Tell you what,” I said generously (it is Christmas, after all). “If you want me to have a pressure cooker here so you can use it when you come, I’ll keep it here. I’ll wrap it and keep it in the storage room. You can get it out when you come.”
A huge smile broke over her face.
“Okay,” she nodded. She looked so happy. And you know what happened next? She took the damn thing home with her.